The Syndicat National des Voyages (SNAV) now referred as Les Enterprises du Voyage (LEV) French Travel Agents Congress had their annual session ceremoniously celebrated in Sri Lanka, on the 31st of October, 2016.It will continue till the 5th of November. Found in the year 1944, LEV is the leading professional French Travel Organization with a membership of 5700 state approved travel agencies and tour operators of France representing more than 5000 sales points in France.
The JEV congress is an annual event held in France with the participation of their membership, majority of them being outbound travel agents in France. This time JEV selected Sri Lanka as the destination to host this major event, after a lapse of 10 years. Therefore, Sri Lanka Tourism, along with other respective private and government institutions, had the privilege of hosting this event, which will benefit the tourism sector in the long run.
The opening ceremony of the event began on a grand scale with the participation of a distinguished gathering, including the chief guest Hon. Dr. Sarath Amunugama , Minister of Higher Education and Research , Hon. John Amarathunga , Minister of Tourism Development , Christian Religious Affairs and Lands, Hon . Arundika Fernando, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Tourism Development, Christian Religious Affairs and Lands, H. E Thilak Ranaviraja , Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to France, Hon. Martine Pinville, Deputy Minister, Tourism of France, Mr. Jean Pierre Mas, President, JEV, Mr.Jean Marc Roze, Secretary General,JEV , amidst a colorful and glamourous atmosphere. After the national anthems of both countries were played the event officially began, and making the welcoming speech, Minister Amarathunga mentioned that Sri Lanka considers it as a great opportunity to host this event in Colombo, since it is the first event to be held at such a stage. He further mentioned the government of Sri Lanka has given top priority to this congress.
Chief guest Dr. Sarath Amunugama who was the chief guest at the event, stated in his key note speech that Sri Lanka has many attractions that tourists go for, such as the sea, sunshine and sand, it’s ancient culture, having all the possibilities for modern tourism. He addressed the gathering based on the importance of how this visit might be an important milestone for Sri Lanka’s Tourism. The distinguished members of the JEV and the French government including Hon. Ms. Martine Pinville , Deputy Minister , Tourism of France, expressed their thoughts too, on this occasion , which turned out to be a successful achievement. The evening as made more memorable with a touch of glamour, through a performance by the Channa – Upuli dance troupe, blending different Sri Lankan dance styles with modern and traditional music accompaniment. Over 300 French travel agents had the exclusive opportunity to taste the authentic food specially prepared to give them a taste of Sri Lanka.
The second day of the event proceeded with a press conference for both Print and Electronic media personnel at the Galle face hotel, Colombo, which was afterwards followed by a gala dinner. The conference was held with the distinguished participation of Hon. Minister John Amarathunga , Minister of Tourism Development , Christian Religious Affairs and Lands , top government officials and the distinguished JEV representatives.